When the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 led to rallies for racial justice, sales surged of nonfiction books on racism and social justice issues. An NPD Bookscan analysis of year-to-date sales numbers show those titles remain hugely popular in 2021.

According to NPD figures, adult non-fiction subjects with a focus on these topics grew 160% (more than 700,000 units), from January through May 2021, compared to last year. The books with the highest growth rate were titles related to “social science and discrimination.”

“Race & Social Justice” Titles See Strong Sales for 2021

As Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer reports, “This is not only backlist titles from authors like Ibram X. Kendi and Robin D’Angelo, but also frontlist titles, including Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prospect Together, Emmanuel Acho’s bestseller Uncomfortable Conversations with A Black Man, and CNN’s Don Lemon’s book, This is the Fire: What I Say To My Friends About Racism.

“The good news is that book buyers continue to seek out books that help them understand and address issues of racism and we’re seeing new voices on these subjects also finding an audience,” Albanese tells CCC.

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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